Archive for July 3rd, 2009

When Your Labrador Retriever First Comes HomeYou’re going to be excited when you first bring home your new Labrador Retriever, and chances are, you’re going to want to share that excitement. Restrain yourself right now for your new dog’s sake. Although Labs are very social dogs, your new best friend needs to get to know you and bond with you before he meets other people.
Bonding is the process of developing a relationship. When he is bonded with you, he will care about you and will want to be with you. When you are bonded with him, you will do anything to keep him safe. This bonding takes a little time— at least a weekend—so be selfish and keep him at home with you and your family.
Later it will be important for him to meet your neighbors, friends, and extended family so he can become socialized to other people. Just keep the get-togethers brief and control the meetings. Don’t let people get rough with the puppy, even in play, and let just one or two people meet him at a time. Never let a group of people gang up on him; even the most social Lab could be frightened by that.

Puppy-Proofing Your Home
You can prevent much of the destruction puppies can cause and keep your new dog safe by looking at your home and yard from a dog’s point of view. Get down on all fours and look around. Do you see loose electri¬cal wires, cords dangling from the blinds, or chewy shoes on the floor? Your pup will see them too!
In the kitchen:
– Put all knives and other utensils away in drawers.
– Get a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.
– Put all household cleaners in cupboards that close securely; con¬sider using childproof latches on the cabinet doors.
In the bathroom:
– Keep all household cleaners, medicines, vitamins, shampoos, bath products, perfumes, makeup, nail polish remover, and other per¬sonal products in cupboards that close securely; consider using childproof latches on the cabinet doors.
– Get a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.
– Don’t use toilet bowl cleaners that release chemicals into the bowl every time you flush.
Keep the toilet bowl lid down.
– Throw away potpourri and any solid air fresheners.
In the bedroom:
– Securely put away all potentially dangerous items, including medi¬cines and medicine containers, vitamins and supplements, per¬fumes, and makeup.
– Put all your jewelry, barrettes, and hairpins in secure boxes.
– Pick up all socks, shoes, and other chewables.
In the rest of the house:
– Tape up or cover electrical cords; consider childproof covers for unused outlets.
– Knot or tie up any dangling cords from curtains, blinds, and the tele¬phone.
– Securely put away all potentially dangerous items, including medi¬cines and medicine containers, vitamins and supplements, ciga¬rettes, cigars, pipes and pipe tobacco, pens, pencils, felt-tip markers, craft and sewing supplies, and laundry products.
– Put all houseplants out of reach.
– Move breakable items off low tables and shelves.
– Pick up all chewable items, including television and electronics remote controls, cell phones, shoes, socks, slippers and sandals, food, dishes, cups and utensils, toys, books and magazines, and anything else that can be chewed on.
In the garage:
– Store all gardening supplies and pool chemicals out of reach of the dog.
– Store all antifreeze, oil, and other car fluids securely, and clean up any spills by hosing them down for at least ten minutes.
– Put all dangerous substances on high shelves or in cupboards that close securely; consider using childproof latches on the cabinet doors.
– Pick up and put away all tools.
– Sweep the floor for nails and other small, sharp items.
In the yard:
– Put the gardening tools away after each use.
– Make sure the kids put away their toys when they’re finished playing.
– Keep the pool covered or otherwise restrict your pup’s access to it when you’re not there to supervise.
– Secure the cords on backyard lights and other appliances.
– Inspect your fence thoroughly. If there are any gaps or holes in the fence, fix them.
– Make sure you have no toxic plants in the garden.

Crate Training

Adding a Lab puppy or dog to your household can be a wonderful experience, but it can sour quickly if the dog is ruining your carpets and chewing up your shoes. Two types of crates are commonly used. The first is a heavy plastic molded carrier, much like those the airlines require. The second is made of heavy metal wire bars. That’s why you need a crate. Whichever you choose, it should be large enough for an adult dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down. When Your Labrador Retriever Puppy First Comes Home
Introduce the crate to your puppy by opening the door and tossing a treat or toy inside. Allow the puppy to come and go as he pleases and to investigate the crate. When he is going in and out after a few treats, give him a treat and close the door. Leave the door closed for a few minutes and then let the puppy out if, and only if, he is being quiet. If the puppy is throwing a temper tantrum, don’t let him out. If you do, you will have taught your puppy that a temper tantrum works to get him what he wants.
Put the puppy in his crate when you are home and can’t supervise him, or when you are busy, such as eating a meal. Put the puppy in the crate when he is overstimulated—time-outs are good for puppies, too. And, of course, put the puppy in his crate for the night.
Never leave the puppy in the crate longer than four hours, except at night when the crate is next to your bed. It takes a while for the puppy to develop good bowel and bladder control, and you need to be able to let the puppy out when it’s time.

Prevention

Many of the commonly seen problems with dogs can be avoided through simple prevention. Puppy-proofing your house is one means of prevention. Supervising the dog is another. Your Labrador Retriever can’t chew up your sofa if you super¬vise him while he’s in the house with you and you put him in his crate or outside in his pen when you can’t watch him. By supervising the dog, you can teach him what is allowed and what is not. Using the sofa as an example again, if your Lab puppy decides to take a nibble out of the sofa cushion and you are paying atten¬tion, you can tell the puppy, “Aack! No!” as he grabs the cushion. Then you fol¬low through by handing your puppy one of his chew toys: “Here, chew this instead.”
The same can occur with food. Labs love food, and even when well fed, they will try to steal any food they can find. By practicing prevention—putting away food, keeping things picked up, and putting the cat’s food out of the dog’s reach—you can stop bad behavior before it happens.

Time with Your Labrador Retriever

As I have mentioned several times, Labrador Retrievers are very people-oriented and must spend time with their owners. Your dog should be inside with you when you are home and next to your bed at night, except for his trips outside to relieve himself. In addition, you will need to make time to play with your dog, train him, and make sure he gets enough exercise.
With a little thought, it’s amazing how creative people can be with their schedules. To spend time with your dog in the morning, getting up thirty min¬utes earlier will give you time for a fifteen- to twenty-minute walk before taking your shower. If you work close to home, your lunch hour might be just enough time to get home and eat your lunch as you throw the Frisbee for your dog. In the evening, take the children with you as you walk the dog; you can find out what’s going on with the kids as you exercise and train your dog.

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